Virginia Will Stop Defending Gay Marriage Ban

Attorney general says state will no longer oppose lawsuits challenging the ban

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The Virginia Attorney General’s office told the Associated Press that it will no longer oppose lawsuits challenging the state’s ban on gay marriage.

A spokesperson for Attorney General Mark Herring said he concluded the ban is unconstitutional, and he will side with the plaintiffs in pending or future cases. Virginia banned gay marriage in 2006, in a constitutional referendum.

The decision marks a reversal for the state, now under Democratic leadership, amid a wave of changing stances across the country. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia now allow same-sex marriage, according to a count from the Washington Post, and federal judges have struck down bans in Utah and Oklahoma.